HARTFORD – The Archdiocese of Hartford has launched the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation, Inc., to strengthen the local church's ties to business, government and community leaders in a common effort to improve the lives of people who live in Hartford, New Haven and Litchfield counties.
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will serve as president.
The announcement initiates a long-term effort that is meant to evoke Hartford’s historical secular “bishops,” as they once were known. The archbishop is inviting community leaders – the “bishops” of today – to help support the church’s mission within the wider context of the spiritual, social and material well-being of everyone in the three counties.
“Building upon the socially responsible planning attributed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries to Hartford’s insurance and finance leaders who were once called the city’s ‘bishops,’ the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation, Inc., will engage government, business and other community leaders to assist the archdiocese in promoting the common good,” said Archbishop Blair. “The philanthropic paradigm developed by those who have gone before us provides a model of collaboration for today’s church, in which I now bear a leadership responsibility.
“The Hartford Bishops’ Foundation,” the archbishop said, “can draw inspiration from the words of the Second Vatican Council that ‘the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts’” (Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World).
The Hartford Bishops’ Foundation, Inc., is designed to help the archdiocese situate its efforts and any special projects within the context of the betterment of the entire community. One of its first initiatives will be the development of a master plan concept for a St. Joseph Cathedral campus, so as to make the mother church of the archdiocese a dynamic presence within the surrounding neighborhood community of Asylum Hill and the city of Hartford as a whole. A community campus can provide a greener and more vibrant focus for everyone.
Assisting Archbishop Blair as vice president and treasurer of the foundation will be the Very Reverend Steven C. Boguslawski, O.P., vicar general and moderator of the Curia, and the Very Reverend James A. Shanley, rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, as secretary.
Also working closely with Archbishop Blair are the following individuals:
• Jerold Panas will assist as the foundation’s philanthropic counsel. Mr. Panas is a founding partner of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners, one of North America’s foremost fund-raisers, and a co-founder and chairman of the board of the Institute for Charitable Giving.
• Patrick Bollenberghe will be the master planner for the cathedral campus in Asylum Hill. He is a founding partner of the MBTW Group and a member of both the American and Canadian Societies of Landscape Architects. He has reshaped urban spaces worldwide with landscapes that encourage public life and are a source of community pride.
• John LaFramboise will serve as executive director and supervise day-to-day operations. He has managed major capital campaigns for churches, hospitals, academic institutions and cultural organizations.
Archbishop Blair said, “The aim of our archdiocesan team is to recruit church, government and business leaders who can design and implement a strategic plan for the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation. Our shared goal will be for the archdiocese to be a valued and helpful contributor to the common good as it fulfills its spiritual and social mission in the wider community of Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties.”
Mr. Panas said the hope is that once convened, “these social entrepreneurs and high-energy notables will read like a Who’s Who in Business and Community Service.”
Mr. Panas’s books on fund-raising and financial resource development are considered classics in the field of philanthropy.
The Archdiocese of Hartford comprises 212 parishes, numerous outreach ministries and activities and 53 Catholic schools, and spans Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties.